“Wine, when used moderately, and according to the organism of each person, is as perfect for health as it is for illness”. Hippocrates
The words vine-culture and wine (“oinos” in ancient greek) are inseparable aspects of the Mediterranean people and many references to that seem to vanish with the passing of time. No one is absolutely certain where and when the first vineyards appeared, but what is undoubtedly known, based on historical findings, is that they were of great significance to the people of the Greek land. For the Greeks, wine was not only about consumption but also about trade, economy and religious ceremonies.
Historians claim that the Phoenicians would load their ships with wine and set off from the city of Byblos (today’s Lebanon) towards other Mediterranean harbours.
At the same time, numerous regions of insular and mainland Greece were well-known for their wine production. Countless origins, categories and practices remain alive even today. Wine, by definition, is a product which breathes and evolves; so how would it ever be possible for wars, confrontations and migrating populations to restrain it. Contrarily, conquerors exploited it as a trophy (as precious as gold and silver) whereas the displaced received stumps to plant in the land they would inhabit next so as to remind them of the place they were called to abandon (as precious as their language and religion).
The existence of vine-culture in Greece evolved over the centuries. Romans, Byzantine, Ottomans, Venetians and so many others who crossed this blessed land recognized the superb quality of nutritional goods and especially the wine and olive oil.
Nowadays, the infamous Greek wine is met with great success in international markets where the Assyrtiko, Moschofilero, Agiorgitiko and Xinomavro varieties appear to be in the lead, while at the same time there seems to be a revival and interest for hundreds of local varieties coming to the forefront again. In every corner of Greece, hospitable locals will offer you a glass of wine and raise their glasses with you in the name of good health by saying “Yia mas!” (Cheers!)
Map of Flavours
The HETEROCLITO wine bar is the ultimate wine destination at the historical heart of Athens. Words by Dimitris Koumanis, Wine Writer
Established in 2012, wishing to showcase native varieties of wine and the richness of the Greek earth in a tasteful and minimal style.
It was quickly recognized by international wine magazines and opinion makers mainly from the US and Canada, so it is a reference point for wine in the capital. You will find more than 200 Greek labels in the Heteroclito wine-list, with emphasis on wines where mild methods of cultivation and winemaking (natural wines) were followed. The French-Greek owner Madeleine, is supported by a team of young, ambitious partners – graduates of oenology and wine students – who constitute a strong team with knowhow and vision. They constantly travel both in and out of Greece, expanding their social network and discovering new wine regions. Suggestions for wine glasses, are changed on the 1st day of each month. The quest for new “wine treasure” is endless and in most cases makes the Heteroclito list.
Heteroclito Bar A Vin, 2, Fokionos Str. & Petraki, Athens, T. 210 3239406, E. firstname.lastname@example.org, www.heteroclito.gr